Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Company Spotlight: Cutting Edge – Keller Williams Realty’s eEdge Combines All Agent Functions into One Cohesive System

Company Spotlight: Cutting Edge – Keller Williams Realty’s eEdge Combines All Agent Functions into One Cohesive System

By Nick Caruso Print Article Print Article
RISMEDIA, March 2, 2011—In an industry contingent upon time constraints, fast communication and lead generation, rapidly adopting new technology is important for any successful and progressive brokerage. When it comes to providing revolutionary, cutting-edge tools to its agents, Keller Williams Realty is definitely no stranger. Starting this month and rolling out throughout the course of 2011, Keller Williams is delivering its latest technology with hopes of transforming the way its agents conduct business: the all-encompassing eEdge.
The new eEdge business platform will represent the next step in a long history of agent-led technological initiatives for the company. eEdge will be offered to all Keller Williams associates, containing all of the core pieces that a REALTOR® needs to manage on a daily basis. It will guarantee one paperless loop with lead management, contact management, a fully automated marketing feature and transaction management, all maintained and controlled through a single system.
Rather than juggling 10-15 databases at any given time, eEdge combines them all into one, easy-to-use tool that will facilitate the agent’s day-to-day communication and scheduling. It even comes with a tracking system that generates and reports an agent’s ROI.
According to Ben Kinney, broker/owner of Keller Williams Bellingham, Washington, eEdge will save him hundreds of dollars for services rendered by many different providers.
“Currently, we have two aspects of our business we continually focus on: how much time we are spending doing our daily tasks and how much money we are spending. eEdge will help solve both of those problems,” he says.
eEdge stands to support its agents by giving them a competitive advantage—an entirely electronic, efficient and economical option for their business transactions.
“We’ve got to get more organized as an industry, and that’s what eEdge does,” says Cary Sylvester, executive director of technology for Keller Williams Realty, Inc., who is based at the company’s corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas and is overseeing the creation of eEdge.
Mike Brodie, broker/owner of Keller Williams Plano, Texas, calls eEdge a “quantum leap forward” in terms of consolidating many tools into one synchronized package. “It highlights our commitment to agent productivity and the use of technology in today’s world,” he says. “It will give us a competitive edge, as far as recruiting and productivity. It’s such an innovative and comprehensive tool.”
Keller Williams prides itself in offering technology that will elevate its agents. Supporting the company’s very agent-centered philosophy, eEdge was borne from the strong desire to help the industry become more efficient and has been the latest step in the company’s agent-inspired innovation since first offering customizable, consumer-focused websites more than a decade ago.
It began to take shape when the company’s Agent Technology Council (ATC), a group of technology-minded agents in the field, came up with a request for a cohesive, integrated solution to every aspect of the business, starting from lead generation and continuing throughout the close. According to Kinney, who is a member of the ATC, 40-50 agents sat together to brainstorm what the future real estate tool would look like.
“Keller Williams has always been on top of education and front-line information from the agents,” says Kinney. “They’re always interviewing and surveying us, and putting us on stage to talk about what’s brand new. Contrary to other companies, Keller Williams gets its information from agents and then acts on it through all levels of the company.”
The ATC envisioned eEdge as an optimal tool for agents to have at their fingertips, in which the various components integrated seamlessly with each other.
“We needed to provide a management system for all of our agents, pulling all the important pieces together and building the software to make them communicate in a real-time basis,” says Sylvester.
In October and November of last year, Keller Williams presented the concept to all of its Association Leadership Councils (ALC) throughout North America. With feedback straight from its agents, the company continued to hone in on the best solutions for its agents. When the time came for agents to vote on the new system, unsurprisingly, eEdge was approved by an overwhelming 98% of the company’s offices.
How it Works
The eEdge process flow starts with a lead. All leads, whether garnered from KW.com, personal agent websites, market center websites, etc., get filtered through eEdge’s myLeads component. The combining of sources allows for increased lead awareness and accountability on the agents’ end.
By storing all of an agent’s leads in a one-stop location, eEdge aims to increase productivity and prevent unanswered leads, therefore, increasing agents’ business. “Our industry has a bad history of not answering leads off of the Internet,” says Sylvester. “When we look at how many leads come from different sources and databases, agents just simply don’t see them all.
“And the agents’ databases are their own. We’ve made it so that we can’t take over their database, we can’t market to their clients or interact with them—they are our agents’ clients,” says Sylvester. “This system is about building and supporting our agents’ business, not our own.”
From there, agents can choose to move their leads into the contact management portion of eEdge. In myContacts, agents can keep track of consumer data, from lead initiation to close, using one centralized tool. Then, agents can select a marketing strategy. With myMarketing, agents can easily create high-end marketing pieces, including listing presentations and a fully automated “33 Touch” schedule, by automating data transfers from myContacts, the Keller Williams lead capture systems and more.
The transition to an e-transaction automatically follows with myTransactions, an electronic transaction solution designed to accommodate the technology comfort level of all parties involved. All forms are available online and auto-populate as the sale progresses.
eEdge also includes an e-signature function to quicken this stage of the transaction. Once the process has been completed, agents can move the client back to a post-transaction marketing plan to generate referrals and repeat business.
With the eEdge platform in place, KW agents are positioned to meet the needs of today’s consumers. “The ease of flow between themselves, their clients and any co-operating agents will be much cleaner and much more efficient,” says Brodie. “It will provide a clear document trail for everyone, eliminating any confusion or potential conflicts.”
eEdge has been designed to support agents of all technological capabilities, with Sylvester referring to it as “Apple simple.” “It lets the agents focus on the core of what they need to do and lets the experts do the rest,” she says.
In addition, eEdge is a great environmental step for the industry. Keller Williams will be the first franchise to offer a completely paperless system, a step that Sylvester thinks will make a significant impact to the industry at large.
“Everybody’s excited,” says Kinney, who posted about eEdge on Facebook. “The feedback has been phenomenal,” he says, regarding the plethora of positive comments left on his profile.
Adds Brodie: “The reviews so far have been fabulous.”
eEdge will officially begin its launch in Anaheim, California, at Keller Williams February conference, Family Reunion, while feature enhancements will continue to roll out throughout the year.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/KWeEdge.
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